Windows Updates: What’s in a name?

If you looked in WSUS or ConfigMgr recently, you may have noticed that the naming pattern for some of the most recent new updates has changed – there is now a definite, consistent pattern that looks like this:

[Release] [Update description] for [OS] [Version] for [Arch]-based Systems [KB]

So what are each of those components?  Let’s look at each one.



Update names start off with the year and month that they were released, using a YYYY-MM format that makes it easy to sort the updates by their release date.  For example, updates released in May 2017 will start with “2017-05.”

Update description

There are various types of updates that are released.  Examples (which vary by OS and version) include:

  • Cumulative Update
  • Update
  • Security Update for Adobe Flash Player
  • Security Only Quality Update
  • Security Monthly Quality Rollup

In most cases, these aren’t any different than what you saw on older updates – the only real difference is that the names are prefixed with the release date, as mentioned above.

OS and Version

Each update will indicate the OS and version that it applies to.  For example:

  • Windows 10 Version 1703
  • Windows 10 Version 1607
  • Windows 10 Version 1511
  • Windows 10 Version 1507
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2


Updates are architecture-specific.  In the past, the x86 updates weren’t qualified, but the x64 ones were, so you could identify x86 updates by the absence of an “x64” label.  Now they will be explicit:

  • x86 (e.g. “for x86-based Systems”)
  • x64 (e.g. “for x64-based Systems”)


Finally, each released update is assigned a specific KB number.  This will be included in parenthesis at the end of the name, e.g. “(KB1234567)”.


Putting it all together

Here’s an example showing two updates in WSUS (related to the new update options blog post from last week) that use the new naming pattern:


Expect to see quite a few more of those very soon, in WSUS and in System Center Configuration Manager.